Workforce Development

Safer Policy Institute Partner Corner
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Workers with Criminal Records: A Survey by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute
SHRM, Charles Koch Institute, May 17 2018
Excerpt: In a research collaboration between SHRM and the Charles Koch Institute, two surveys found that a majority of workers in all roles said they were willing to hire and work with those who have a criminal record. A positive view of the employment of people with criminal backgrounds is emerging, with the research finding that a majority of HR professionals see little differences in quality of hire between those with and those without a criminal background.

Back to Business: How Hiring Formerly Incarcerated Job Seekers Benefits Your Company

Trone Private Sector and Education Advisory Council to the American Civil Liberties Union, 2017
The report lays out how by reducing barriers to employment and implementing fair hiring practices, companies can better provide employment opportunities to formerly incarcerated people to the benefit of all. When companies break down these barriers to employment and provide second chances, they can have a positive impact on the lives of individuals, the trajectory of families, on the health of their businesses, and on the growth of the American economy. The bottom line: doing good is good for business.

A Healthcare Employer Guide to Hiring People with Arrest and Conviction Records: Seizing the Opportunity to Tap a Large, Diverse Workforce 
National Employment Law Project and the Safer Foundation, April 2017
This toolkit, with Sodiqa Williams (Safer Foundation’s VP of External Affairs) as its lead author, synthesizes reliable research demonstrating the universal benefit of hiring from untapped talent pools, dispels myths about the risks of hiring people with arrest and conviction records, sets forth concrete steps for developing an effective hiring process, and highlights success stories and best practices from healthcare employers, like Johns Hopkins Health System, that have already embraced the issue.

Chicago Community Area Indicators, 2015

Suniya Farooqui, Data Analyst, Social IMPACT Research Center, Heartland Alliance, February 2017
The report draws on U.S. Census Bureau’s 2000 Decennial Census and 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-year estimates program to provide data on a number of indicators including demographics, poverty rate, education, for each of Chicago’s 77 community areas.

Local Labor Markets and Criminal Recidivism
Crystal Yang, Journal of Public Economics, Volume 147, Pages 16-29, March 2017
This article studies the impact of local labor market conditions on recidivism using data on four million individuals with records. Those released from prison during bad economic times are significantly more likely to return to prison. Positive response to higher wages varies based on racial demographics as well as criminal history.

Chicago City Council Passes Ordinance to Provide Employment and Training Opportunities
City of Chicago, Office of the City Clerk, September 14 2016
Chicago City Council passed an ordinance introduced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel that offers bid incentives to City construction contractors for taking on people with conviction records as apprentices. The ordinance’s record number is 02016-512 and here is a corresponding press release. 

2013-2014 Civil Rights Data Collection: A First Look
Key Data Highlights on Equity and Opportunity Gaps in Our Nation’s Public Schools

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, June 7 2016
This is a survey of public schools and school districts that measures a number of factors like student access to courses, programs, and staff. It also provides data on the days and hours of educational programs that were available at justice facilities for youth up to 21 years of age.

The Long-Term Decline in Prime-Age Male Labor Force Participation

Executive Office of the President of the United States, June 2016
The report examines forces behind the decline in the prime-age male labor force participation rate. The decline has been concentrated largely among people with lower education levels. Participation rates have also declined steeply among African-American men. High levels of incarceration appears to have contributed to some of this decline.

Why Former Felons May Be Good Employees

Jena McGregor, The Washington Post, May 6 2016
The article summarizes research by Jennifer Lundquist, Devah Pager and Eiko Strader that suggests that postponing background checks paired with other hiring policies could lead employers to good employees.

Closing the Skills Gap & Opening More Doors: Connecting Workers With Criminal Histories to Jobs In New York City’s High Growth Sectors

National H.I.R.E. Network, May 2016
This report combines labor market forecasts for New York City and New York State with information about barriers to employment for individuals with criminal records. It explains New York City and State protections for workers with criminal records and sets forth recommendations to overcome barriers that contribute to underemployment of people with records. 

Beyond the Box: Increasing Access to Higher Education for Justice-Involved Individuals

U.S. Department of Education, May 2016
This is a resource guide to help colleges and universities remove barriers to higher education. College admission policies to make early criminal history inquiries can adversely impact an estimated 70 million citizens who have a criminal record. The guide recommends alternatives to considering an applicant’s background early in the admission process.

Lessons In Reentry From Successful Programs And Participants: The Final Report of the Reentry Employment Opportunities Benchmarking Study

ICF International, April 28 2016
ICF International ran a yearlong benchmarking study of successful faith-based and community grantees of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Reentry Employment Opportunities (REO) program. The report goes over existing research on best practices in reentry, observations gathered over the course of the study, and examples of strategies adopted by high-performing organizations.

Reentry and Employment for the Formerly Incarcerated and the Role of American Trades Unions

National Employment Law Project, In The Public Interest, April 2016
This paper explores the role of American trade unions in providing critical training during or after incarceration in order to address under and unemployment of the formerly incarcerated. It also shares potential funding streams to support such efforts and highlights current partnerships between organized labor, employers and community advocates.

A Lost Generation: The Disappearance of Teens and Young Adults from the Job Market in Cook County

Great Cities Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago, March 22 2016
This report puts numbers to employment disparity among Cook County’s teens and young adults. It contains analyses of employment data from 2005 to 2014 on males and females 16 to 24 years old. It also compares Cook County with the US as well as counties home to large cities like Los Angeles, New York City and Houston.

Racism’s Toll: Report on Illinois Poverty

Social IMPACT Research Center, Heartland Alliance, February 2016
The report draws up Illinois’ poverty profile. It also unpacks racial inequity reflected in various quality of life domains like housing, public education, assets to name a few.

2016 Report on Illinois Poverty County Data

Social IMPACT Research Center, Heartland Alliance, February 2016
County level data on quality of life domains including housing, education, health and nutrition to name some.

People With Criminal Records May Make Better Employees, Studies Reveal

Brett McIntyre, The Staffing Stream: The Voices of the Staffing Industry, 2016
This article summarizes findings from two studies that suggest that employers may lose out on good employees if they automatically screen out job applicants who have an arrest or conviction record.

Lessons Learned from 40 years of Subsidized Employment Programs: A Framework, Review of Models, And Recommendations For Helping Disadvantaged Workers

Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Kali Grant, Matthew Eckel, and Peter Edelman, Center on Poverty and Inequality, Georgetown Law, Spring 2016
The report examines what works in subsidized job programs and finds such programs to be cost-effective in decreasing persistent unemployment and long-term poverty. Subsidized job programs provide work experience and job training by offering subsidies to third-party employers who then provide jobs to eligible workers.

Building the Talent Pipeline: An Implementation Guide

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Center for Education and Workforce, November 2015
As a way to bridge the gap between education, training and employers' needs, the guide lays out strategies for employers to become more involved with workforce development. 

LOCKED OUT: Improving Educational and Vocational Outcomes for Incarcerated Youth

Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, November 2015
The issue brief examines access to quality educational and vocational services for incarcerated youth. It shares highlights and recommendations based on a CSG and CJCA (Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators) administered survey of juvenile correctional agencies in all 50 states.

Growing Skill for a Growing Chicago: Strengthening the Middle-Skill Workforce in the City that Works

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Skills Gap Report, June 2015
The report analyzes regional labor market information to project job growth and workforce needs in industries poised for rapid expansion.

Skills in Demand: Building a Middle Skill Workforce To Grow the Columbus Economy

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Skills Gap Report, February 2015
This is the Columbus, Ohio edition that analyzes regional labor market information for industry growth and projected workforce needs.

Expanding Opportunity for Young Men and Boys of Color Through Employment and Training

Shayne Spaulding, Robert I. Lerman, Harry Holzer, Lauren Eyster at Urban Institute, February 2015
This paper focuses on promising strategies for improving the labor market outcomes of low-income young men of color. It outlines an employment-focused approach to improving economic opportunities and outcomes for these young men, highlighting potential policy, system and institutional reforms as well as program investments.

'Redemption' in an Era of Widespread Criminal Background Checks

Alfred Blumstein and Kiminori Nakamura, National Institute of Justice Journal, Issue No. 263, 2009
This is an analysis of the overtime risk of recidivism among people arrested for certain crimes compared to that of the general population. It provides evidence that after a certain point people with prior arrests are as, if not less likely than the general population to have a new arrest. These findings can inform background check and hiring practices as they highlight the importance of considering time while using records to make employment decisions.

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